Chapter 48: The Blight
Most of this one is just Scenery Porn
of the Blight, and it’s quite refreshingly different than its Lord of the Rings counterpart for once. Mordor is a place where everything is red and black, with volcanic fumes choking all plant life, while this is a place full of plants; they’re just corrupted and poisonous, making for a more subtle kind of discomfort to walking through it. Though there’s also a creature clearly based on the Watcher, oddly enough. That’s all good stuff, but it’s unfortunately marred when they stop for the night, and Rand overhears Nynaeve and Lan talking like they’re in the middle of an epic love story, deeply attached to each other but forced apart by circumstance. And…huh? The fact that the chapter ends there makes it even worse.
A pretty odd experience here. All that great creepy tension, suddenly given way to a blatant case of Strangled by the Red String
. Maybe if we’d spent a little more time with Lan and Nynaeve in the period where everyone was separated, this could have worked, and maybe it could even work if the attraction was all on Nynaeve’s end for the moment. But as it is, there’s been no buildup to both of them being in love with each other, and given some of the more grevious filler that we’ve had so far, it really stings.