Thursday, February 6, 2014

Magic: An Analysis of My Favorite Novel Quotes (Part 5)

Since my last post in this series (each part of which you can find under my "quotes" label), I added an eighth quote to "My Favorite Novel Quotes."  Nonetheless, I shall mine for the magic in the fourth quote on my wall (literally, they're written on lined, yellow sticky notes beside my desk).

"Ignoring the tray, he rose and made his way down the hall to Moraine's room.  She answered his rap on the door with, 'Come in, Perrin.'

"For an instant all the old stories of Aes Sedai stirred again..." - The Dragon Reborn

This quote belongs to the third book in the now-complete The Wheel of Time series.  If you aren't familiar with the series, you should be.  (Start with the first book, The Eye of the World.)  I reviewed this book a while back.  It's really solid overall, in part due to passages such as this.  As an epic fantasy tome, it is littered with magic both in the traditional sense and in the sense I'm trying to convey through this series of posts.

We start our journey with the first three words of this quote.  It's a small matter, but one that displays skill.  "Ignoring the tray..."  In three words, Robert Jordan managed to give his readers a peek into Perrin's head.  He's so anxious that he ignores a tray full of food before him.  The following "he rose and made his way down the hall to Moraine's room" points out that while Perrin is somewhat anxious mentally, he's rather calm physically, or at least that's what he's telling himself (as he is the 3rd-limited narrator).

Despite Perrin's visual calm, Moraine knew that he was the one who was at her door.  Some clue must have surfaced earlier in the day that would cause Moraine to suspect that Perrin would come to see her.  I don't remember the context perfectly, but to the best of my memory there wasn't any apparent reason for her to do so.

The fact that Moraine was aware of the identity of the person behind her door must have startled Perrin quite a bit.  He notes, "For an instant all the old stories of Aes Sedai stirred again."  This gives flavor to both Perrin's character and the setting.  Aes Sedai are so scary and mysterious to the sheltered farmers in the Two Rivers (Perrin's homeland) that Perrin let himself be spooked by one, even though she is one of his most powerful allies.  Perrin typically comes off as brave through the first three books, but he isn't a solid stone by any means.

The subtlety behind the character and setting development in this quote are reminiscent of pure magic.  Here, traditional and nontraditional magic thrive in harmony.


  1. Perrin's anxiety or maybe eagerness is clear from the fact that he ignores the food tray to go and see Moraine.