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View Full Version : A Memory of Light: Observations - Warning: SPOILERS GALORE


New Futurist Man
01-15-2013, 03:34 AM
This isn't intended as a balanced critique or anything, just a near-exhaustive list of observations/criticisms, with a couple of things tacked on at the end.

Enjoy.

*

First up, I should state I enjoyed A Memory of Light. Especially the ending. To be honest though, there was no way I wasn’t going to enjoy it, no matter how it turned out. That said I felt the book had some serious flaws, both in terms of structure and the accuracy of a lot of things that went on.

And the biggest, most jarring of these – in my humble opinion anyway – revolved around the Asha’man. I’ll list three specific reason why (though I could go on):

a) Was it just me or did the huge contingent of Asha’man stationed on the Illainer border to defend against a Seanchan attack simply fail to show up at any point throughout the book??? Wasn’t the group of Asha’man there comparable in size to those still in the Black Tower? We know Asha’man fought for Lan in Tarwin’s Gap but that contingent was reportedly small, and those who fought under Logain were obviously the Black Tower Asha’man who’d recently evicted Taim.

So what happened to the rest?

b) Even discounting this odd disparity in Asha’man numbers, the manner in which they were MASSIVELY underplayed throughout the entire book was equally galling. No doubt they fought on the frontline of battlefields throughout the book, but we got no real sense of that in the writing. Apart from when they turned up to save the day outside Cairhien, they didn’t do what I thought they’d be doing all through aMoL: launching themselves against Dreadlords in massive spats and continuously turning battles for the side of the Light. It didn’t happen, instead they operated as these pathetic bit-part players, sometimes showing up, sometimes not; and yet when they were there they'd hardly get a mention. Was there even a description of a single battle between an individual Asha’man and a Sharan channeler throughout the entire book? And the whole thing about the Asha'man as being destined to spill their blood on the slopes of Shayol Ghul...What happened there? Instead it was Perrin, Gaul, Thom, the wolves and some Dragonsworn who defended the entrance. Huge let-down. At least having a couple hundred Asha'man accompanying the Dragon when he first Travelled to Shayol Ghul to fight a huge contingent of Dreadlords aiming to weaken the Dragon before his fight with the Dark One would've been something, instead of him just showing up and wandering in. :/

c) And where was the epic to end all epic face-offs between Logain and Taim!? I’ve been waiting literally YEARS for that and.....nothing!!! Logain’s only meaningful encounter in the whole book was that rather misguided tussle with Demandred, which was cool and all, but for me the lack of closure between Logain-Taim was the biggest damp squib in the entire series!


Technical changes in using the Power

How channellers battled, especially in regards slicing weaves, almost read like it was a different kind of Power the Aes Sedai and Asha’man were using. What gives?


Preacher Moraine & the Meet-up at Merrilor

Moraine’s evangelizing when she showed up at Merrilor was just aaargh, horrible, that whole scene/chapter was atrocious, totally scuppering the idea built up in ToM that ‘Messiah Rand’ actually knew what he was doing re the Bore now that he’d got LTT’s memories. Eh...apparently he had no more clue than had sheepherder Rand. The back-and-forths in the meeting tent with all the rulers as he tried to convince/bluff them the treaty was worth signing just didn’t ring true. It was like a first draft.


Smearing of identity

Most of the characters appeared to have lost their identity and all their little idiosyncrasies, meaning much of the dialogue was interchangeable and could’ve been spoken by anyone. Perrin for instance, the guy’s entire personality seems to have had a make-over, all his patience and that careful attitude toward everything was replaced with this stock persona that many of the character’s shared. Very disappointing.


@Pevara@Androl

zomg r u kddn me?????? :-@ :/


Damp Fain Squib

Fain – what a damp squib. I mean. Whoooooa! All that build up for that...Hi Mordeth! *Stab* Bye Mordeth!


Messiah Rand/Not-Messiah Rand/Messiah Rand/Not-.....

Rand’s indecision regarding the Dark One and the Bore right up until the last chapter was just....weird. Didn’t he ultimately come to the same decision he’d come to atop Dragonmount anyway? The ‘indecision’ – as far as I could see – was just a mask and a way of prolonging the contest between Dragon and Dark One, as it seems likely BS was operating without any specific knowledge on how to end it or what was really supposed to pass between Rand and the Dark One.
The actual scene itself, located in the beginning at the bottom of a nondescript little tunnel, was rather uninspiring. I’d have preferred had the tunnel opened out into something like an impossibly huge chamber with the Bore visible at its centre – with Moridin True Power Travelling of-a-sudden toward Rand sword-a'swinging instead of just kneeling before his sword which was just kinda lame. That whole scene was lame I thought, and it perfectly illustrated the difference in style between RJ and BS. RJ would’ve spent paragraphs and paragraphs on description before even getting to any dialogue or action, BS is all about pace, which sometimes works and sometimes doesn’t. I felt in this book that it more often than not didn’t work. Often it read as either lazy writing or rushed.


EPIC Fail

I felt the ‘Last Battle’ chapter just wasn’t as EPIC as it should’ve been. BS seemed to be constrained by the notion he had to illustrate Mat’s battlefield genius instead of just giving us a massive, face-to-face battle with the Shadow’s forces lined up in the hundreds of thousands on one side and the Light lined up opposite. Now THIS would have been epic in every sense of the word. Having Demandred out front on the Shadow’s side, backed up by hundreds of Dreadlords and Sharan channellers; then the Myrdraal and the multitude of Trollocs behind; and on the Light’s side Mat, Logain, Elayne, Egwene etc., and behind them all the forces of the Light. That’s what we should have had instead of the chaos of Merrilor.


Bao the Wyld is Dead!

Demandred could’ve defeated the forces of the Light all by himself if he’d been of a mind. Unfortunately for the Shadow he wasn’t of a mind. Anyone ever heard the alternate LotR plot? The one where Gandalf decides to entrust the Ring to the King of the Eagles and have him drop it into the fiery pit instead of having a hobbit traipse halfway across Middle Earth to do it? Sort of reminded me of that.


Dha'vol

No mention of Trolloc band names – not one single mention....! What gives?


Lol

Berelain biting her lip upon hearing Galad didn’t want the cut on his face healed was just lol.


The book just seemed rushed, BS should’ve been given another year and attempted to capture some more of the tone and style of RJ imho.

To write those three books in such a short space of time is an AWESOME achievement, they contain some of my favourite chapters in the whole series, but I think the time constraints hampered this last book. I'd easily have waited another year for a more polished product.


*

Despite what I say above I still enjoyed the book immensely, regardless of the few hair-pulling moments. The ending was awesome, perhaps not as dramatic or earth-shattering as I’d imagined (or hoped for) but it was still pretty awesome. The amused mood Rand had as he rode away I liked a lot, and the little suggestion that something had changed about the world that he was riding into was interesting.

The few weepy moments (I cried manly tears only!) were also pretty special. Egwene wasn’t that annoying in this book, so when she perished (unfortunately seeming to carry her anti-Balefire ‘Flame of Tar Valon’ weave with her to the grave) the feeling of loss was actually genuine; and the list of people dying from Rand’s pov: Bashere (one of my fave characters) and his wife; Byrne, the Asha’man and Dragonsworn Aes Sedia who collapsed from exhaustion before been set upon and stabbed to death by Sharans – all old friends, and I was sorry to see them go. : (

Demandred fulfilling prophecies and coming to power as the ‘Dragonslayer’ in Shara must’ve paralleled Rand’s own rise to power in the Westlands, and is probably worth a book on its own. I doubt the Sharan’s were out-and-out evil, and more than likely Demandred vanquished those who served the Light on that side of the Aiel Waste. What an awesome story that would make!

I really hope RJ’s estate or Tor books or whoever it is own the rights for this kind of thing think long and hard about developing the franchise, and allowing suitable authors licence to write standalone novels or short series based on something like early false Dragons, or the War of Power, or the build up to the Bore into the Dark One's prison from the POV of those involved, stuff like that, it just seems the Wheel of Time has such a rich depth to it, much of which, especially when we’re talking Age of Legends, has only been partially mined – one of my fave chapters of all time remains the Jenn Aiel pov that Rand experiences of the drilling and creation of the Bore – a whole book or short series on that would be awesome. Tolkien once said there were two kind’s of people who read LotRs – those who after finishing the last chapter, would close the book and leave it at that, entirely satisfied with what they’d read; and those who would immediately read the appendices and every other related book Tolkien released in order to further immerse themselves in the world and glean every little bit of information that could get on it – and I guess it’ll be the same with Wheel of Time fans, some will wish to end with aMoL, but others I’m sure would like to see it continue, with reputable and suitable authors taking it on.

Thoughts?

NFM

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 05:25 AM
A more troubling question: why did those silly Sharans only use their gateways once?

They'd let the Trollocs charge the front of the armies of the Light, which was quite smart seeing as how then the Trollocs (and the Lighties) would do the dieing. But they could have simply stepped to the back of the forces of the Light, and starting chopping up Mat's reserves and his resting areas.
They could have attacked the pike squares from the inside, sending heavy cavalry to run over the archers and crossbowmen hiding there, only to have them retreat again after one round.
They could have send a couple of hundred channelers and some thousands of troops behind Egwene and her forces, crushing them before they could even begin to be a problem.

That way, the whole thing could've been over by teatime, instead of dragging on for days.

Scrooge
01-15-2013, 05:37 AM
I tend to agree with you on most things. I thoroughly enjoyed AMoL, turning pages deep into the night instead of sleeping. Was a fantastic read, as I was reading. But I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would after I turned the last page.

I thought tGS and ToM were absolutely fabulous. I liked them more than some of RJ's late entries in the series, which was a complete shocker to me. The pacing of those two books was a refreshing change of pace after the extended drag-out that Crossroads and WH were, for example. It strikes me that BS was had more freedom to write his first two books, but since this was the ultimate end, it couldn't find his stride as well with this one. It was still good, but there was a lot of the book that just read... off.

I was also so certain it was supposed to be Taim v Logain. The very first time I read Mazrim Taim as -another- false Dragon, I was convinced the two would duke it out. And all the build up, Taim getting put in charge of the farm, Logain getting Healed, the constant little hints that Taim was definitely not one of the good guys coupled with Logain seeming to be loyal to Rand, followed by the eventual rift of factions between Taim and Logain... oh I was so very certain. Completely shocker to me they didn't end up fighting. Androl had a more meaningful fight with Taim than Logain did.

On the same note, I was so blinded by the certainty that Logain would get Taim, it never occurred to me Taim would end up against Egwene. The symmetry of the White Tower Amyrlin v Black Tower M'Hael isn't lost on me now, but it definitely blindsided me when I first read it.

I think weave slicing has long been in the series. Unfortunately I can't think of any off the top of my head at the moment. I could have sworn Graendel did it to Moggy and Cyndane during their brief skirmish, but I just checked and definitely not.

I am relatively deflated with Moiraine's appearance. I was very amped up hoping to see her reunion scenes with everyone. Her lack of consequence in AMoL is probably the single most disappointing thing I've read in the entire series. There was so much potential lost here.

Regarding Smearing of Identities: I see your point, but I was more frustrated with the smearing of importance and roles. Moiraine and Nynaeve are two of the most important characters of the entire series, and they spend most of the book watching Rand and Moridin posing. When they finally play their part with Callandor.. well, honestly any two loyal female channelers could have done that. There was nothing special about it that made it necessary to be Moiraine and Nynaeve. Two random sul'dam could have flipped the switch on Moridin the way that scene was written. What was the point of it being Moiraine and Nynaeve? (I know someone's gonna mention Nynaeve helping Alanna, but let's be honest: the entire WoT story would have flowed just fine if Alanna had never existed) Given who those two are, they should have done something epic. For that matter, Moridin was utterly flat too. He showed up, swung a sword three or four times, then posed for 500 pages. Then became nothing more than a temporary pseudo damane. Agree on the Perrin personality, he felt like a walking, shifting T'A'R mechanism, not a hero.

I didn't dislike Pevara and Androl's storyline, I much enjoyed them as characters but I also wasn't sure why they got so much screen time, and so late in the series. It strikes me that they should have been bit players, yet they got starting line-up esque status with Logain got benched as a result. The idea that they had so many adventures during AMoL and Moiraine and Nynaeve stared at statues the entire book strikes me as absurd. Thought the whole you look good in black comment with Pevara's rebuttal was hilarious though.

I'm not quite sure what was the point of all that Fain build up across the books for that little... skit, I guess. I know Fain was never gonna be the focus of the final climax, but he was so irrelevant that he should have been the big bad boss of an earlier book and wrapped up his storyline then. I get that he was just a walking plot device to fulfill the whole Rand *needs* Mat and Perrin deal, but it came out really lame and rushed.

The whole Moridin thing upset me. That should have been a huge take the kid gloves off, leave craters in the floor kind of fight between those two. I was never expecting, but was really hoping for Rand, Nynaeve, Moiraine v Moridin, Moghedien, Lanfear. Would have been nice and symmetrical given Rand's obvious choices for Callandor partners, and Moridin's two mindtrap minions.

Largely agree on the Last Battle chapter. There was entirely too much Gawyn and Galad. I didn't mind any of their PoVs, but they were always supporting characters of supporting characters to begin with. Juilin and Uno PoVs? Really now, that's a waste when they could have been PoVs of actual channelers doing actual One Power fighting. Instead we get page after page of generic fireballs. We got too much "general sense of One Power fighting in the background".

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 05:50 AM
I think weave slicing has long been in the series. Unfortunately I can't think of any off the top of my head at the moment. I could have sworn Graendel did it to Moggy and Cyndane during their brief skirmish, but I just checked and definitely not.
Siuan did it to Nynaeve, during the training session in TGH. Lanfear did it to Rand, during their fight on the docks of Cairhien. Rand also did it to Lanfear there, though a lot less effectively. Nynaeve and Moghedien did it to each other during their fight in Tanchico, until they got into a sort of stalemate.

New Futurist Man
01-15-2013, 09:07 AM
I think weave slicing has long been in the series. Unfortunately I can't think of any off the top of my head at the moment. I could have sworn Graendel did it to Moggy and Cyndane during their brief skirmish, but I just checked and definitely not.

Yes, sorry, I should clarify here, should have been more specific: I meant the manner and the ferocity with which -- even whilst in pitched battle -- channellers were slicing each other's weaves. I don't remember modern Aes Sedai or Asha'man being quite that skilled at that particular manoeuvre before! The speed and frequency they were doing this was at Forsaken-level as far as I could see, especially on the occasion when an Asha'man would be calling out (!) to an Aes Sedai the particular weave a male Dreadlord would be channelling at them so that they could slice and/or counter it -- and this in the middle of a battle involving Trollocs, Fades etc....!

I should also have added when I mentioned some of the anomalies in the use of the Power how on numerous occasions channellers were 'countering' each other's attacks, i.e. something like this would happen: channeller A weaved a fireball at channeller B, who countered with a wall of ice, etc. or something similar.

Now I may be wrong on this one, but I really didn't think channelling worked quite like that exactly. I remember Rand using a weave that enclosed him in a Power-wrought 'cocoon' to defend himself when he fought Dashiva or Sammuel, I think it was and that made sense. However normally even the Dragon would be running to dodge attacks, granted often when he couldn't see their source, so would be unaware what the weave was until too late, so 'countering' it would be an impossibility. But even in the past when he fought face-to-face against powerful channellers it would be a matter of slicing weaves and a contest of wills where they'd each be trying to shield the other -- and never (that I can remember anyway) this scissors-beats-paper/paper-beats-stone-style countering lightning with iron, or fire with ice etc. that was going on in aMoL.

And the 'countering' of weaves channellers were employing seemed ludicrous on occasion, and as though they were making it up as they went along. The hand-to-hand combat between Aes Sedai and Ayyad was full of examples of them exhibiting extreme skill in slicing waves and 'countering' fireballs with Power-wrought walls of ice that would then turn to scalding steam or whatever. Even Logain did so when he fought Demandred, not to mention all the rolling about he did in dodging Demandred's strikes at him. None of which seemed particularly plausible.

Maybe BS framed it differently, or perhaps it was the occasion -- I don't think that that many channellers have fought in pitched battle before in the entire Wheel of Time series -- that brought to the fore these kinds of tricks in a frequency heretofore unseen. But some of it just seemed off, to me anyway.

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 09:31 AM
Note to Demandred: next time you're trying to balefire an annoying channeler, do not use one amazingly large beam. Instead, use two dozen or so thin beams, spread out so that at the distance of you're opponent, they are just less than one body thickness apart. That way, if he dodges one, he'll still get annihilated by two or more others.

Davian93
01-15-2013, 09:47 AM
@Pevara@Androl

zomg r u kddn me?????? :-@ :/



Yes, the text messaging form of their initial telepathic conversations was beyond annoying. I completely and utterly agree with that. Beyond annoying even compared to their entire subplot POV which was annoying as hell in its own right when actual important storylines are getting short-changed due to space issues. Thankgod half the damn book was devoted to the amazing story of Androl and Pevara.

Terez
01-15-2013, 10:09 AM
What annoyed me the most about Androl and Pevara was that, for all the time that was spent on them, their battle/escape at the Black Tower was off screen. And that was the part we wanted to see most.

jana
01-15-2013, 10:24 AM
What annoyed me the most about Androl and Pevara was that, for all the time that was spent on them, their battle/escape at the Black Tower was off screen. And that was the part we wanted to see most.

This kind of crap happened throughout the book for me. Ugh.

GonzoTheGreat
01-15-2013, 10:35 AM
This kind of crap happened throughout the book for me. Ugh.
Look on the upside: it was very light on White Tower politics too.

New Futurist Man
01-16-2013, 01:32 AM
I was also so certain it was supposed to be Taim v Logain. The very first time I read Mazrim Taim as -another- false Dragon, I was convinced the two would duke it out. And all the build up, Taim getting put in charge of the farm, Logain getting Healed, the constant little hints that Taim was definitely not one of the good guys coupled with Logain seeming to be loyal to Rand, followed by the eventual rift of factions between Taim and Logain... oh I was so very certain. Completely shocker to me they didn't end up fighting. Androl had a more meaningful fight with Taim than Logain did.

Definitely the biggest letdown -- for me anyway -- in the entire series! With Logain-Taim Sanderson had it handed to him on a plate: all he had to do was write the chapter, and basically however it turned out it would've been utterly epic and probably a lot of people's fave chapter ever.

It just blows my mind that it didn't happen.


I didn't dislike Pevara and Androl's storyline, I much enjoyed them as characters but I also wasn't sure why they got so much screen time, and so late in the series. It strikes me that they should have been bit players, yet they got starting line-up esque status with Logain got benched as a result. The idea that they had so many adventures during AMoL and Moiraine and Nynaeve stared at statues the entire book strikes me as absurd.

Yeah, I also felt it wasn't that they were dislikable as actual characters, just that they were hogging much of the action. Androl basically lost significance after Taim's eviction from the Black Tower, the onus by rights should switched to Logain at that point and his quest to avenge himself against Taim, ending with an actual confrontation.

In a world where Moghedien still lives, many Dreadlords (those in the Stedding), and with the Seanchan empire (on this side of the Aryth Ocean anyway) pretty much unscathed after the Last Battle -- the Black Tower needs every advantage it can get, so Logain apparently giving up on the powerful sa'angreal sceptre was kind of annoying too. Wasn't he holding the crystal block it was encased in in his hands at one point? What did he do, drop it in order to go help those refugees or something? I didn't understand what exactly happened there.

New Futurist Man
01-16-2013, 01:56 AM
Something I forget to mention in the original post: did anyone anywhere suggest in a theory that perhaps Mat was no longer tied to the Horn of Valere after his deaths?

I can't believe I missed that one! Just seems so obvious. :p

Scrooge
01-16-2013, 02:23 AM
Mat's "deaths" untying him from the Horn have long been speculated. Heavy emphasis on the long. People argued over whether cardiac/respiratory arrest qualified as "death" to the Horn of Valere when Rand revived him in Rhuidean. Then in TFoH, Rahvin killed Mat, Avi, and Asmo. But Rahvin ended up Balefired, so they came back to life. And there was endless arguing over how balefire interacts with the Horn's link.

I personally always believed he was still tied, but I was wrong.

If you check footnote three on Enyclopaedia-WoT (http://encyclopaedia-wot.org/books/tfoh/ch54.html) you'll see long ago speculation.

professorskar
01-16-2013, 02:32 AM
Scrooge...do me a favor and get out of my brain! Your post pretty much reflects exactly how I felt about this book.

New Futurist: I had seen debates about whether Mat was still bound to the Horn after the Rahvin incident pop up every once in a while over the years. I've personally had the debate with irl friends (and always took the side that he was still bound...d'oh!), so it didn't really strike me as out of the blue as I've heard some people say they felt it was.

probe907
01-16-2013, 02:43 AM
People caught on the severance of Mat's link to the Horn as long ago as at books 4-5 (even 3!).
http://wotfaq.dragonmount.com/book/export/html/10

The Black Tower was the height of spectacle back in book 6. After that it was all tease and no satisfaction :mad: . Logain had been set up to become one of the coolest characters in the series, and in the end he was little beyond a mini emo-Rand. At least the WT arc delivered, apart from some annoying distractions along the Salidar plot... But I forgave those when the Seanchan paratroopers finally struck Tar Valon.

Davian93
01-16-2013, 08:39 AM
Something I forget to mention in the original post: did anyone anywhere suggest in a theory that perhaps Mat was no longer tied to the Horn of Valere after his deaths?

I can't believe I missed that one! Just seems so obvious. :p


Only for about the past 10-15 years...other than that, no, nobody has ever mentioned it.

Dom
01-16-2013, 08:43 AM
What annoyed me the most about Androl and Pevara was that, for all the time that was spent on them, their battle/escape at the Black Tower was off screen. And that was the part we wanted to see most.

Brandon has a certain knack for doing stuff like this :)

Davian93
01-16-2013, 08:45 AM
Brandon has a certain knack for doing stuff like this :)

One is reminded of the great Christopher Paolini in that respect.


~yeah, I went there~

Terez
01-16-2013, 10:16 AM
New Futurist: I had seen debates about whether Mat was still bound to the Horn after the Rahvin incident pop up every once in a while over the years. I've personally had the debate with irl friends (and always took the side that he was still bound...d'oh!), so it didn't really strike me as out of the blue as I've heard some people say they felt it was.
I always figured it was probably irrelevant. Either he was still tied, or he would (not realizing the link was broken) blow it and get tied again anyway.

GonzoTheGreat
01-16-2013, 10:51 AM
I always figured it was probably irrelevant. Either he was still tied, or he would (not realizing the link was broken) blow it and get tied again anyway.
Yeah, that was obvious to the most casual reader. (Which, I have to admit, also included me.)

Terez
01-16-2013, 10:59 AM
And it was probably no accident (http://www.theoryland.com/intvmain.php?i=161#23) that Olver was introduced right after Mat was severed from the Horn.